Vegan “Eat Your Greens” Warm Broccoli Rice Salad with Rainbow Chard, Basil, Mint, Avocado & Citrus Vinaigrette

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Living alone can make eating all the food I buy difficult.  I buy produce with a thousand inspirations in my head – often forgetting that I have to eat everything I make myself.  That can get difficult – especially with produce like avocados & leafy greens that have a short shelf life.  Yesterday – I made a Spicy Vegan Szechuan Beef & Vegetable Stir-Fry (seen above) that used a lot of the veggies I had around – but – it did not use everything.  I also had a lot of leftover basmati rice.  So – I dreamed up this salad.  I used a little (1 cup) of the rice I had.  You could use more – or less – depending on how light you want this to be.  You could also use quinoa or brown rice or some ancient grain of your choice.  Whatever you decide – this salad is full of nutrients & tastes clean & light & fresh.  If you do not add the avocado – this salad will keep in the fridge for a few days.  Just add the avocado just before serving.

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Vegan “Eat Your Greens” Warm Broccoli Rice Salad with Rainbow Chard, Basil, Mint, Avocado & Citrus Vinaigrette

Serves 2-4 depending on appetite

INGREDIENTS

2 TBS olive oil (or coconut oil)

1 cup cooked rice or other grain (optional)

1 head broccoli – grated or pulsed in a food processor

1 cucumber – chopped

1 zucchini – chopped

Avocado – amount at your discretion – sliced

2-3 scallions – sliced

1 bunch (6-8 leaves) rainbow chard (or other greens of your choice) – ribs removed & chopped

1/3 cup fresh basil – chopped

1/3 cup fresh mint – chopped

Pepitas (or other nuts) – amount at your discretion

GARNISH: basil, mint, lime wedges

for the dressing

2 TBS olive oil

2 TBS cider vinegar

2 TBS fresh lime (or lemon) juice (or a combination)

1 tsp lemon or lime zest

2 TBS Dijon mustard

1 or 2 TBS agave (I used 2 but might go less next time)

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Whisk the dressing together & adjust flavors to suit your tastes.

Pulse the broccoli in a food processor or grate it (grating is very messy).

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Heat the olive oil in a large pan over high heat.  Add the broccoli & rice & toss.  Add the zucchini & chard.  Add a few TBS water & cover the pan & remove from heat.  You just want to warm everything through & get the chard & broccoli & zucchini wilt a bit.

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In 5 minutes or so – put the rice mixture in a large bowl (or in the pan) & toss in the scallions, mint & basil & cucumber & some (not all) the dressing.

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Put some of the warm salad on plates & garnish with avocado slices, pepitas, extra basil and/or mint, lime wedges, additional dressing & freshly cracked pepper.

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Fennel, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Kale & White Bean Gratin (Vegan or Not)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I get Farm Fresh To You deliveries every other week.  You are allowed to customize the deliveries but, sometimes, I forget and the result is that I end up with an infinity of leafy greens.  This week: two kinds of lettuce, Swiss chard & kale.  And fennel.  And more.  But thatsalotta greens!  Plus, I already had fennel from the last delivery & about 5 pounds of spinach.  So – I decided to make something that would use as many of the greens as possible – this dish.  The greens you use can vary but you need a lot of whatever you select because they reduce dramatically.

I used real Parmesan in this (because I had it) but vegan Parm – or even another vegan cheese (like mozzarella or cheddar) would work.  I used almond milk but I think a thicker milk might have been better.

NOTE – Also – you might want to add some cheese to the veggie mix.  I didn’t because I was trying to keep this dish on the light side.

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Fennel, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Kale & White Bean Gratin (Vegan or Not)

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

5 TBS vegan butter

2 small bulbs fennel – chopped

1 onion (I used 1 brown & 1/2 red onion) – diced

4 or more garlic cloves (I used 4 cloves & 2 stalks of green garlic) – chopped

1 bunch Swiss chard – ribs removed & chopped

1 bunch kale – ribs removed & chopped

2-4 cups spinach

2 TBS fresh thyme

3 TBS flour

1 cup Parmesan (vegan or otherwise) – optional – for adding to the veggies – see NOTE above

1 1/2 cup vegan milk (I used almond milk but a thicker milk might be better – or half & half, if you are not vegan)

2 14 oz cans white beans – drained & rinsed

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (I used Panko)

1 cup Parmesan (vegan or otherwise) – or other cheese (mozzarella or cheddar) for topping

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Melt TWO of the five TBS of butter in a large stock pot.  Add the fennel and onion & saute until soft.  Add thyme & combine.  Add the garlic & stir for a minute.  Add the greens – in stages – adding more as each bit wilts.

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Add the flour & milk & bring to a boil.  Reduce to low & simmer as it thickens a bit.  Add the beans & season with S&P.  If you are adding cheese to the veggies – do that now & stir to combine.

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Meanwhile – melt the remaining 3 TBS butter & toss with the breadcrumbs and 1 cup of cheese.

Treat a 9 x 13 casserole pan with cooking spray or oil & put the veggie mix in.  Top with the breadcrumb mix.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until breadcrumbs turn golden.

Let rest 10 minutes & serve.

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Vegan Tofu Quiche with Chard, Spinach & Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I have never been a huge quiche fan.  Sure – I’ll eat it – but I will eat most things if they are my only option.  I became even less charmed with quiche when I made a few & realized that they really are not mostly egg – but rather – are mostly heavy cream.  They are as rich & decadent as ice cream and, frankly, I’d rather eat a tub of sour cream with spring onion powdered mix in it & gorge on an entire bag of reduced fat Ruffles.

So – I recently discovered the charms of tofu masquerading as egg whites & I am very pleased.   I made Vegan Tofu Scramble Breakfast Burrito with Mixed Vegetables & Cheese & Vegan Tofu Chilaquiles with 5-Minute Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce – seen below, respectively.

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And, when I am working, I scramble a quarter of a block of tofu with S&P and some spinach or veggie sausage & wrap it in an 80 calorie tortilla & dip it is salsa & call it breakfast.  Every.  Single.  Day.  I am now completely off eggs.

So – I thought – why not make a tofu quiche?  Cruelty-free & way less rich than a traditional quiche.  I used chard & spinach & vegan cheese in mine but you can adapt this to reflect whatever quiche ingredients you prefer.  A little veggie sausage would be nice.

I used 5 slices of this Field Roast Chao cheese – below.

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I really, really like that cheese – in all three flavors.  The texture is believable & it tastes yummy.  I pulsed mine into the tofu so that it might melt more effectively and, no matter what kind of cheese you use – I recommend this method.

The real secret to a delicious-looking quiche is the depth of it – so be sure to pack yours with ingredients.  I could have added sausage or other veggies – like broccoli – to this & it would still have fit into the crust – so err on the side of too much stuff in the crust rather than too little.

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Vegan Tofu Quiche with Chard, Spinach & Cheese

INGREDIENTS

1 prepared vegan pie crust

1 lb extra firm tofu

1 head chard – hard ribs removed – chopped

2 cups fresh spinach – chopped

1/2 onion – diced

1/2 red bell pepper – diced

1 carrot – diced

5 slices of vegan cheese (or 1/2 cup or more of your cheese selection)

2 TBS tahini (optional)

1 TBS miso (optional)

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 TBS fresh basil – minced

Olive oil

Smoked (or other) paprika

5-10 cherry tomatoes – halved

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Press the crust into a pie pan.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil in a large saute pan.  saute the onion, carrot & red pepper until soft.  Add the chard & spinach & basil & saute until the greens wilt.  Season with S&P.  Set aside.

In a blender or food processor – pulse the tofu & cheese together with the Dijon and the miso & tahini (if using).  Season with S&P.  Add to the vegetable mixture & combine.

Pour into the crust & sprinkle with paprika.  Arrange the tomatoes on top.  Pinch your crust edges – if you like.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the crust is browned to your taste.

Let sit 10 minutes & serve.

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Pizza with Swiss Chard Pesto, Roasted Tomatoes & Fresh Mozzarella and Thug Kitchen

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I initiated this blog less than a year ago, July 5th or so, impromptu & with no clear vision as to where I would go with it.  My boyfriend called & asked what I was doing that day and I surprised myself by replying, “I don’t know.  I might start a food blog.”  And then I did it.

I was surprised to hear myself answer that way because I hadn’t any aspirations like that, I have never written any kind of blog before & because I always hated the very word, “blog.”  But here I am, nearly a year later, having shared dozens, if not hundreds, of recipes & restaurant experiences & trips to things like The Museum of Death, Bangluck Thai Market,  Super King and even the gynecologist.  Still – I haven’t really found an angle or a hook & I bounce around from vegan things to hominy or cauliflower obsessions & I curse the cost of groceries.  But recently – I found a food blog that makes me so happy – and so jealous at the same time.  These guys cook the kind of food I can eat (I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian who aspires to veganism) and fucking talk about it in terms I can relate to.   Many of you may already be aware of these guys but for the uninitiated among you – let me present THUG KITCHEN.  Here are a few of my favorites from their collection:

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Salad – it’s like plant nachos?  Hahahahah!  It is just too good!  They not only post these gorgeous photos with the world’s BEST pitch lines for recipes but also post the recipes.  I want to BE these people.  I am so fucking jealous.  I get all butterflies & brace for fallout when pitching my GYN post on Facebook like this, “Why pelvic exams are not for pussies” and these guys get all genius like this:

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Seriously.  AND – I found out we are soul mates because they have cunty spoons at their house, too!  I thought it was just me!

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Anyway – I can only look at their site and Facebook page a few times a week – or less – because I am rendered fetal on the floor as I accept my total defeat at the hands of their superior cool factor.  It is very hard on the self esteem.  Very hard on my motivation.  It fucking drives me to drink and I already have a lot of rides to that destination – if you catch my drift.

So – go look at Thug Kitchen.  Get a laugh.  Get some awesome recipes.  Become a vegan before I can muster that dedication – even after I have given 25 years to my bullshit lacto-ovo pescatarianism.  I’m such a loser.

BUT – at least I am a loser that can eat pizza with real mozzarella on it.  Fuckers.  None of that icky Daiya for me.  Sure, real cheese might be full of hormones, antibiotics, Monsanto byproducts & the ceaseless agony of dairy cows (ouch) but at least it melts.

Oh God.  I’m just making myself feel worse.  They can put a man on the moon & my i-phone is more powerful than the computers that put those men on the moon – but they can’t make an edible vegan brie?  No luck on the vegan salmon front?  <deep sigh>

So, yeah.  Brushing myself off from the complete defeat delivered to me & my self-image by the awesome Thug Kitchen – I present to you my latest pizza creation.  It is no wild invention & breaks no new ground.  Still – I couldn’t find a recipe like in on Google so – there.  Swiss chard – super good for you.  Raw almonds – good for you and no danger of the hideous pine mouth you risk if you take the bait & use those over-rated & “kinda too oily & rich anyway” pine nuts.   This is really easy & super tasty.  The micro arugula I used to garnish it is the last of my over-priced $5 experiment with the stuff.  For now.  Because, in reality, it has an amazingly strong flavor & looks frigging gorgeous atop foods.  But – no need for you to splurge on something so obnoxious.  Regular arugula would work nicely, too.  Or no garnish.  Or use basil.  Or parsley.  Whatever.

As a side note – I went to TJ Maxx recently & splurged on a few necessities – like some saucy Jessica Simpson panties & some fancy salt.  The two are unrelated.  New undies make me walk around feeling all fancy, like Queen Jinglefarts.  Can’t you see the sparkle in my eyes as I stand in my kitchen – naughty bits all snugly held in by my new bikinis?

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More interestingly – here is the salt:

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I paid $3.99 for it.  I could eat each individual grain of this salt like miniature hors d’oeuvres.  This salt is actually delicious!  I bought it because (like the micro arugula) I thought it would look pretty, and it does, but holy crap!  I will never look at regular salt again as anything but some unworthy red-headed stepchild.  I shudder to think what a salt fetish could end up costing me down the road but know that – as my obsession develops – I will take you along for the ride.

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Pizza with Swiss Chard Pesto, Roasted Tomatoes & Fresh Mozzarella

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough of your choice (mine is here)

1 head Swiss chard

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

4 (or more) cloves of garlic

3/4 cup + 1 TBS olive oil

1/2 cup raw almonds

a dozen cherry or grape tomatoes

1/2 cup (more or less to taste) grated pizza cheese

1 dozen or so cherry-sized mozzarella balls (ciliegini or other fresh mozzarella) – sliced

S&P to taste

micro arugula or some other green for garnish (optional)

Extra diced tomato as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Make your pizza dough (if you are doing that) or let your store bought version come to room temp on the counter.

Cut your little tomatoes in half & toss with 1 TBS olive oil & some S&P.   Roast them at about 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat & set aside.

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Raise the temp of the oven to the 450-500 degree range.

Wash the chard & remove the center rib.  Immerse in boiling water for about 2 minutes.  Drain & squeeze out the excess water.

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Toast the almonds in a dry pan for about three minutes or until they get fragrant & start to brown.  Remove from heat

In a food processor, puree the nuts & garlic & 1/4 cup of the olive oil then blend in the chard & then the Parmesan and the additional 1/2 cup of olive oil and some S&P.  Use less oil if you think you can get away with it (for a dense pesto) or add more (or some water) if you want a thinner pesto.

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To assemble the pizza, simply roll out the dough.  Place it on a cooking sheet sprayed with cooking oil.  Top with pesto, grated pizza cheese, roasted tomatoes, mozzarella & some fancy orgasm-producing Hiwa Kai Black Lave Sea Salt (or just a little sea salt) and some pepper.  Bake at 450-500 for 12-15 minutes or until it looks done to your taste.

Garnish with whatever you selected for that purpose.  Tap a gala keg of some drinking wine & get your eat & your drink on.

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